AR-News: (UK) Farmers Urged To Follow Sheep Dip Disposal Advice

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Sun Oct 12 04:23:10 EDT 2003


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THE Environment Agency is urging farmers and contractors to follow key 
guidance and ensure they have an authorisation from the Agency to dispose of used 
dip to land as the main sheep dipping period draws near.
Bob Merriman, Environment Agency Agriculture Policy Advisor says: "By 
following this guidance and having a valid authorisation, farmers and contractors can 
reduce both the risks to the environment and of any legal action arising if, 
for example, water supplies became polluted."
A code of practice for the Use and Disposal of Sheep Dip Compounds was 
published by the Defra in 2001. The code sets out good practice advice on how to 
protect the environment when dipping or showering sheep. Key guidance includes 
the siting of mobile dipping units to minimise pollution.
Key tips for farmers and contractors are: Before Dipping:
obtain an authorisation from the Environment Agency if you will need to 
dispose of any used dip to land 
make sure you have read and understood the relevant guidance in the Code. 
make sure the dip bath does not have a drain hole - if it does permanently 
seal it 
check the bath does not leak- test by filling with water and leaving 
overnight During and Immediately After Dipping 
only use chemicals that are licensed for use in treating sheep ectoparasites. 
Unlicenced chemicals may carry greater risks to the environment by washing 
off sheep easily, which then leaves the sheep unprotected 
keep the chemicals within an area that drains back into the dip bath 
ensure all spillages during dipping operations are contained 
ensure proper drain pens are in place and all drainage runs back into the dip 
bath 
keep sheep in these drain pens until they have stopped dripping 
keep sheep out of streams until their fleece is dry. 
Special Precautions for mobile units Use of mobile units, whether for 
dipping, showering, or spraying sheep, on farmyards can carry a high risk of 
pollution, unless sheep dip chemicals are properly contained and cannot enter surface 
water drains, ditches or soakaway areas.
Units can, however, be located in fields, providing the sites are first 
checked to ensure they are level, have well established grass cover and are at 
least 10 metres from any watercourse or 50 metres from any well, borehole or 
spring. Further guidance is included within the Code of Practice.
Disposal of Used Dip Even if used dip is treated prior to disposal, it is 
still very polluting and must be disposed of with great care by following the 
conditions in the authorisation issued by the Environment Agency. These are not 
onerous and reflect long-established guidance:
spread used sheep dip on to land at low application rates - not more than 5 
cubic metres/ha if it is not diluted further, (for a typical dip, an area the 
size of half a rugby field may be sufficient) or 20 cubic metres/ha if diluted 
three-fold, using slurry or water, for disposal with a slurry vacuum tanker. 
not spread on land that is water logged, steeply sloping, poorly drained, has 
cracked soil, or which is important to wildlife, such as wildflower meadows. 
not spread within 10 metres of any watercourse or 50m. of a well, borehole or 
spring. 
Bob Merriman continues: "The Agency is concerned that not all farmers with 
used dip to dispose of to land have obtained written authorisation from the 
Environment Agency. Under the Groundwater Regulations 1998 anyone disposing of 
chemicals such as sheep dip to land must obtain a written authorisation from the 
Agency.
"Disposal to land of even very small quantities of dip, for example, from a 
shower or jetting system is illegal without such an authorisation. 
Authorisation packs can be obtained from local Agency offices and the application fee of 
£104 allows disposal for four years from a single farm.
"If you haven't yet obtained an authorisation, please consider carefully the 
consequences and potentially much greater costs to you if a stream or even a 
groundwater supply was contaminated by your disposal. For example, the maximum 
fine for causing pollution is £20,000."
 
 
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